DIY U, PLEs, edupunk y universidad

Estos días he seguido un debate en la blogosfera TIC norteamericana de lo más interesante. Leí un comentario de Michael Feldstein a un artículo de Anya Kamenetz en Inside Higher Ed sobre su reciente libro DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education (que ya he pedido, por cierto) en el que decía algunas cosas interesantes. “DIY U” significa “Do It Yourself University”, uno de los mantras del núcleo duro del ideario edupunk y de los horizontes hacia los que “miran” una parte de los defensores de los PLE como alternativa a la educación institucional. Todo esto debe entenderse en el contexto universitario norteamericano actual, aunque aquí en Europa, ya lo sabemos, nos resfriamos cada vez que estornudan. La palabra más citada en este contexto es “insostenible”.

A lo que iba, Michael Felstein hace un par de comentarios interesantes:

First, this seems to be evidence of a possible game changer for the more radical end of the open education movement. I have tended to be very skeptical of theories that higher education will become profoundly more self- and peer driven and will eventually break its bonds with traditional institutions and formal certification. The university is an incredibly stable and change-resistant institution. It has lasted over a thousand years without much evolution in its basic structure. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one big one is that it has tended to reinforce class differences.

Middle class tuition-paying students who grow up to become middle class endowment donating alumni are the economic lifeblood of the university. If they begin to skip college in larger numbers, it would probably force some big changes.

On the other hand, it’s worth thinking about who might get left out of this potential revolution. Folks in the field of educational technology tend to romanticize the notion that the university shall whither away (to borrow a phrase). But ed tech is full of autodidacts, much more so than the general population. I think we tend to assume too often that all people learn the way that we do… If you talk to typical community college professors in the United States, they will tell you that their classrooms are not filled only with the idealized digital natives about whom we gush in admiration, wonder, and possibly envy. They see many students who have not been taught how to read, think critically, or even follow directions… These students are not autodidacts, they are in the most dire need of a good education of anyone in our society, and it is not clear to me that the blossoming of open education for their more fortunate peers will do anything for them other than suck the much needed funds out of an already badly underfunded education system.

Finalmente, la puntilla 🙂

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think the DIY U vision is a bad one. To the contrary, there are many aspects of it that are good, necessary, and overdue. I just don’t think it’s a complete vision. If we are not careful, open education may actually end up reinforcing economic divides, all while we pat ourselves on the back for giving away “free education.” We are failing to educate millions of our citizens in this country, and billions around the world. It’s easy for those of us in the open education movement to see our work in opposition to proprietary technology companies, proprietary textbook companies, and the gatekeepers in the university system. But it’s not the “evil” LMS companies, or the “evil” textbook companies, or the “evil” administrators and bureaucrats that are failing these students. It is all of us. Education is an affirmative responsibility. We need to make educational resources freely available to those who need them, but we also need to do much more than that.

Se monta el “pollo”. Stephen Downes sale al trapo:

The problem with depicting edupunk as *only* the provision of free resources is that you ignore the forces and mechanisms put into place to put those resources there in the first place.

And while David Wiley and others talking about more traditional OER (eg. here ) the approach I and the edupunks take is that these resources are produced by the members of the community themselves.

As I said here “the functions of production and consumption need to be collapsed, that the distinction between producers and consumers need to be collapsed. The use of a learning resource, through adaptation and repurposing, becomes the production of another resource.”

Edupunk, and for that matter OER, are not and should not be thought of in the context of the traditional educational model, where students are passive recipients of ‘instruction’ and ‘support’ and ‘learning resources’. Rather, it is the much more active conception where students are engages in the actual creation of those resources.

Un poco de caña al movimiento OCW:

They attempt to co-opt nascent OER initiatives by directing them toward commercial enterprise, arguing that resources must allow commercial licensing, and directing production toward enterprises and initiatives that must receive see funding and draw a return on that investment through the conversion of OERs into commodities.

And they foster a sense of incapacity in opinion and the media to suggest to students themselves that they are incapable of independent action without the comforting support of corporations and institutions, that they are simply not capable of learning form themselves. From the first utterance that “OCW is not an MIT education” the suggestion has been that education must need be a high-priced endeavour, available, really, only to those willing to pay the price.

Y algunos ejemplos en otros sectores que beben en las mismas ideas:

In fact, what we see on the internet, and especially (albeit constrained) in web 2.0 services, a blossoming of creativity and initiative. Even if this currently represents only a minority of the population (and studies, depending on how you look at them, argue both ways) it seems clear that this is something that has taken hold and is in the process of becoming mainstream.

It is activity and work that is taking place outside educational institutions, and would, if it could (and often does), take place outside the corporate environment.

It is the world of mashups, of deviant art, of self-help discussion groups, of environmental activism and pirates, of self-managed learning, of hobbiests, of hackers, of open source programmers, and on and more and more.

Don’t tell me none of this exists.

David Wiley se pica, naturalmente. En Reponses to the DIY U Thread concluye:

So yes, I agree with Michael’s assessment that the whole DIY U vision is great for people with the ability to take advantage of it. For Anya’s “other 85%,” open educational resources can go one of two ways. If we provide them as part of a more comprehensive service, they can lower costs and improve quality. However, if we move wholesale to an independent study model of “have fun at the library, honey, I’ll pick you up at 3!” where DIY opportunities were the only opportunities offered, we’re going to fail (in both senses) the vast majority of our students. And yes, those failures would increase the social and other distances between the knowledge-haves and the knowledge have-nots.

Con respuesta de Downes:

So long as we depict open learning as some form of ‘independent study’, then yeah, it will appeal only to the fifteen percent of people (mistakenly characterized as The Ivys (but the conflation of wealth and achievement is an issue for another day)) that likes to study.

But mostly the people behind open education – the technologists, at least – the administrators remain institution-bound – depict it as anything _but_ ‘independent study’. It’s depicted as more like creating art and music and games and other content, activities that engage far more than some elite fifteen percent, and when sufficiently equitable, attracts something more like 85 percent than 15 percent.

But this is the reality you don’t see at the mall (or, for that matter, in the classroom). Maybe it doesn’t exist in the U.S., I don’t know, but in Canada there is a high level of engagement at all levels in all manner of social and creative activities. This is the proper domain for open learning (and not academia proper, which serves a very specific and far narrower purpose).

¿Y quién falta? Pues Jim Groom (con respuestas y comentarios de Feldstein , Downes, Groom, etc. para no perderse).

En fin, que sigo leyendo. La cosa no ha acabado todavía 🙂


  1. Es cierto que muchos estudiantes de hoy en dia carecen de las aptitudes y actitudes para aprender por si mismos. Es un hecho innegable. Pero, a mi entender, las causas de ello se encuentran más en el manejo sistematico del rodillo llamado sistema educativo: “siga la linea de puntos” y mantengamos todos la asunción de la gran mentira de que “solo podras aprender a través de un profesor y un programa de estudios bien estructurado (aka rodillo)”.
    (casi) Todos podemos aprender a aprender por nosotros mismos y aprovechar todos los recursos que hay en la viña del señor y en la web. De los que pretendemos ser profesores depende si les vamos a facilitar que aprendan a aprender, o que se aprendan la leccion.
    Queremos ser “universidad” donde catedros impartan conocimiento infalible, o queremos ser “academia” donde maestros y aprendices se hagan preguntas sobre TODO en paseos peripateticos … aunque sean virtuales?
    Yo lo tengo claro…

  2. muy interesante lo que se resume aquí … esperamos la apertura de la discusión a la blogocosa en español didaikeitor(@ainhoaeus & kultureitor@eraser #twple )… y por supuesto … no puedo más que apoyar lo q el gran maestro ludo (marc Alier) propone la vuelta a lo peri-pat-ético !!! 😉 …aunq la verdá es q a esa universidad le quedan … otros 500 años? 😉

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